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Friday, May 23, 2008

NC Attorney General Warning About Fake IRS Contact

New Alert from NC Attorney General Roy Cooper warnng against giving out any information that appear to be requests from the IRS.
Attorney General Roy Cooper Warns North Carolina Consumers about Fake IRS Emai

SCAM: Consumers in North Carolina have received phishing emails that claim to come from the IRS. The phony emails tell people that they have qualified for an economic stimulus refund and can receive their money more quickly by providing their bank account information. The phishing emails include a link to a website where people are asked to provide their bank account and other personal information, supposedly so their economic stimulus refund can be deposited directly into their account. The fake emails even tell people that their refund will be delayed if they don’t provide this information.

TIPS: The IRS is not contacting people about their refunds by email, so don’t take the bait. Always beware of emails that ask for personal information such as your Social Security Number or bank account number. Many times, these emails contain the logos of real companies to make them more believable. Don’t be fooled by them. Never reply to these emails or click on any links. If you do respond to a phishing email, contact your bank and credit card company immediately. Finally, it’s always a good idea to use updated antivirus and firewall software on your computer.

If you’ve been the victim of a similar scam, please contact Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division for assistance at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

*** Visit our Identity Theft website at ***

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On NPR this past weekend was a program called "This American
Life" with Ira Glass. They had an incredibly detailed, interesting
account of the subprime/housing mess, including the terminology and
lots of statistics, and how consumers and Wall Street bankers accepted the
huge risks.

Below is a link to the show, "355: The Giant Pool of Money" which you can
play to hear:

Link to This American Life

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Why You Should Be Thinking About Christmas Now

Christmas isn't something that most people think about in April, but they should. It is amazing how much people spend each year buying presents, and a lot of it goes on credit cards. In fact I believe a major reason people overspend is because it is so easy if you are using plastic to 'pay' for it. I am filing bankruptcy cases now for people and see the Christmas charges on the statements and while the purchases may not be extravagant, many purchased more than someone in financial stress should have paid.

For people who don't file bankruptcy to get out from under the debt load, it will take years to pay off those 2007 Christmas purchases. If people started a little savings account now and put $25-$50 per pay check into the account, there would be cash to buy presents for the next holiday season. Maybe you wont' be able to afford anything big, but the security of knowing that those presents won't be causing your debt obligations to climb will be the best present you'll get.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mortgage Crisis

You can't turn on the TV or open a newspaper without seeing another report on the mortgage crisis. This isn't just the problem of the people whose homes are foreclosed - this problem is affecting everyone. Homes are being foreclosed upon in unprecedented numbers, and neighborhoods everywhere are seeing home values dropping as more houses flood the real estate market. Lenders have less money to loan out, and even borrowers with good credit are having problems finding financing.

This is a controversial subject, with many people blaming the borrowers for getting in over their heads. But it isn't that simple. In my encounters with clients, these homeowners (or former homeowners) didn't intend to get into this mess. Many faced job and income loss, medical problems or divorce - all problems that were beyond their control. Others didn't realize that A.R.M. rates would rise beyond their ability to pay, or believed brokers and other real estate advisers who told them that they could refinance before the rates increased.

No matter the reason, America has a problem that has to be dealt with, and soon. Bills are being introduced into the House and Senate that may hold some relief, with borrowers paying lenders, lenders making a profit, and the government not being the one to provide the bail out. These bills would allow court supervised modification of loans in the United States Bankruptcy Court. Lenders will bear some of the responsibility of this solution in sacrificing higher interest rate returns, but still being paid for the loans at rates that will still provide profits. In fact, keeping people in their homes and preserving a performing loan will help provide a profit that was destined to be lost in the foreclosure.

For more information regarding the mortgage crisis and the mortgage solution, please read my article on the BankruptcyLawNetwork, where you will find many articles on this issue as well as other information about bankruptcy.